Long the topic of conversation among Glen Cove residents and downtown business owners, over the past year progress on the city’s Piazza development has been stagnant. While phase one of the Piazza project got off to a start with opening of Panera Bread last summer, the development has not moved forward with its promised plans for continued demolition and the start of construction.
“This developer has held the city hostage for far too long and the property is an eye sore,” said Reggie Spinello, Glen Cove Mayor and Chairman of the Industrial Development Agency (IDA). “The Piazza is a vital component of the future development of Glen Cove and to say we are disappointed with their lack of progress is an understatement.”
To address this situation, the IDA has embarked on a path towards eminent domain as the ongoing delays, notices of violations and lack of developer action to address the project’s issues are placing an unfair burden on residents and businesses.
“It’s been one broken promise after another—and enough is enough,” said Deputy Mayor and IDA Executive Director Barbara Peebles. “This is private property and not a public/private partnership, therefore we are left with limited options. At this point and in the best interests of our residents and local businesses we had no choice than to start the process for eminent domain.”
Eminent domain authorizes the government and certain quasi-governmental bodies to acquire property for a public use, benefit or purpose. In this case the Glen Cove IDA has the power to seek condemnation of the property, identify a developer that would purchase the property and deliver on the project. According to Peebles and in accordance with the eminent domain procedures on April 26, the IDA voted to approve the release of Request for Proprosals (RFP) to appraise the property and selected the appraiser on May 24. On June 24, the IDA released its “Expression of Interest” to potential developers. A requirement was included that provides for an open public space to benefit the community as well as encouraging the consideration of an entertainment component.
“Via written correspondence I have notified the developer, Michael Puntillo, that we are working on a parallel path and if he makes good on the promises he’s made to the city, we will stop these proceedings,” said Peebles. “In addition, we have notified the owners of two other parcels within the Village Square boundaries that their property will also be subject to the eminent domain process.”
Jobco Realty’s Glen Cove’s Piazza project was approved by the Glen Cove Planning Board in 2011 and is slated to re-develop a blighted area of Glen Cove’s downtown community. According to the development’s web site, the mixed use development will feature a 12,000-square-foot decorative brick plaza, 110 rental units (10 percent of which will be affordable housing) and 25,000 square feet of new retail shops, restaurants and services. Demolition of the pre-existing buildings began in 2014. Since that time, the project has not moved forward due to various circumstances including the developer’s legal and potential financial challenges.
“We look forward to moving the process along in a productive and mutually beneficial manner,” said Spinello.